Event organizer

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall Texted Advice to Convoy Organizer, CTV Report Says

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is facing questions after it was revealed his predecessor gave advice to Freedom Convoy organizers in February, as reported by CTV.

CBC News has reached out to Wall for comment.

According to CTV, Ottawa police obtained the texts, which were sent in February between Wall and convoy organizer Chris Barber, who is from Swift Current, Sask., like Wall.

The convoy and the eventual demonstration in the streets of Ottawa lasted more than three weeks. Barber and other organizers were later arrested and charged. In February, Barber was released on bail and ordered to leave Ottawa.

According to CTV, Wall’s messages to Barber included:

  • Telling him “it’s really important that anyone who tries to hitch their wagon to this convoy with ulterior motives and inappropriate messages – especially racist stuff is openly and roundly condemned by the organizers”.

  • Saying that the convoy “created leeway for the provinces to move away from the mandates”.

  • Saying that organizers could declare “some kind of victory” after provinces began rolling back COVID-19 measures.

  • Notify the organizers that they are donating money to charity and suggest a title for a possible press release.

On Jan. 25, Wall posted a video and message on his Facebook account of people cheering on the convoy as it headed east near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.

Wall wrote that those heading east had “a serious message not about vaccines but about mandates and what they firmly believe is the wrong policy for Canada.”

He wrote “we live in a province that is on high alert for the prospect of an erosion of freedoms. I am very grateful for that.”

No contact with Barber, did not discuss convoy with Wall: Moe

On Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he had had no contact with Barber and had not discussed the convoy with his predecessor.

“I had many contacts with former prime minister Brad Wall, we didn’t talk about it. From what I remember, I don’t believe I talked to him about the convoy in any way.”

Asked about Wall’s texts, Moe said Wall was a private citizen talking to a former voter.

Referring to the CTV story, Moe said Wall’s advice was sound.

“Separate yourself from extreme factions that might be there. Look for opportunities to make your point and leave the area, so it doesn’t become an illegal protest. So I think the advice you read the article was enough of the sound.

“When you look at the communication that’s been revealed, it’s pretty solid communication.”

Moe called Wall’s leadership as premier “exemplary”.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe calls the texts reported by CTV News that were sent to a convoy organizer by Wall “pretty solid communication.” (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Moe said Tuesday that the province will testify at upcoming hearings on the federal government’s use of the Emergency Measures Act: “We do not believe the criteria have been met to enact the Emergency Measures Act. emergency, and we don’t believe law enforcement requested it.”

On January 29, as the convoy converged on Ottawa, Moe sent a letter of support to the truckers.

In his article, Moe said federal border policies affecting unvaccinated truckers “make no sense.”

He promised to support the message to end border warrants for truckers and said he would scrap Saskatchewan’s proof of vaccination or negative test policy.

Less than two weeks later, Moe announced that the policies would end.

Organizers charged

Barber was initially charged with counseling to commit mischief, counseling to disobey a court order, counseling to obstruct police, and mischief that interferes with the use and enjoyment of property.

In March, the Crown submitted an Ottawa police fact sheet setting out six counts against Barber. He is accused of:

  • Nonsense.
  • Advice mischief.
  • Hinder the police.
  • Tips to hinder the police.
  • Advice bullying.
  • Intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways.
Chris Barber, one of the organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy, is seen arrested by Ottawa Police in downtown Ottawa on February 17, 2022. (Kirk Hill/Facebook)

Barber’s bail conditions state that he cannot support the Freedom Convoy in any way, including verbally. He is not allowed to fund the convoy except to help other protesters leave town, but only with his funds.

Barber is also not allowed to contact fellow organizers Tamara Lich, Daniel Bulford or Patrick King, except in front of attorneys in connection with legal proceedings.

Wall’s communication is not “off limits”

Jim Farney said Wall’s posts reported by CTV News “didn’t seem so out of bounds or really out of bounds to me.”

Farney, principal and associate professor at the University of Regina’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, says he found it odd that Wall didn’t come out and disagreed with the protesters who face criminal charges.

“[Wall] seems to have stopped interacting with people a week before the emergency law came into effect and said they had to marginalize racists from the party,” he said.

Farney said Saskatchewan MPs, including former Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, posed for photos with protesters in Ottawa early on.

“[Wall] clearly trying to be the moderate or established voice of Western alienation,” he said. how engaged these groups and these communities are right now.”

Farney said he thinks the story is “exploding on Twitter and will pass pretty quickly.”